3 Smart Steps to Successful Content Marketing for Law Firms
As a provider of legal services, you have plenty of indispensable information to share with your clients and leads.
By using content marketing to share your expertise with your target audience — writing engaging blog posts, white papers, and social media posts about the critical legal topics they care about — you can earn their high regard and loyalty.
Here are several basic issues to consider when planning your content marketing strategy, plus three tips that can help you produce strong, effective content.
The role of content marketing
Although personal contacts, referrals, advertising, and other traditional marketing methods still work well for attorneys and law firms, they’re no longer enough. To retain existing clients and to engage prospective clients, your marketing strategy must include an ongoing commitment to online content. Most people seeking legal services start their searches online. According to a study conducted by Hinge Research, an astonishing 77 percent of all legal-services leads originate online. Even if you already have a website, static web pages that describe your practice areas, provide attorney bios, and post stale news updates are unlikely to connect with visitors. However, dynamic online content can help turn website visitors into clients. As you develop your online content strategy, keep these tips in mind:
1. Produce quality content on a regular basis
About 60 percent of small law firms have websites, but many of them are too busy practicing law and helping clients to update those sites as often as they should. This neglect may be perfectly understandable, but it has two major repercussions. A website with a “current news headline” dated two years ago can put off visitors, and search engines penalize sites that show no evidence of updating. The simple truth is the more frequently you update your website, the more frequently Google and other sites will crawl it for relevant content and the farther your site get pushed up in the search results.
One of the best ways to ensure your website is regularly updated with searchable content is by offering a steady stream of blog posts. You don’t have to post every day — though obviously that wouldn’t hurt. But you should make a commitment to add a new post once a week. Start with one short article of around 400 to 600 words on anything you have clients asking about or wondering about, or anything that you think would interest them. It might be recent changes in regulations, tips on preparing documents, or recent trends in legal news. Your posts give you an opportunity to help your potential clients and demonstrate your thought leadership and expertise in your area.
A targeted, well-written blog post can also be the difference between someone picking up the phone to call or not. They may be on the fence when they find you through Google, but if they arrive at your site and find a blog post addressing the very issue they need help with or an answer to a question they were going to ask, there’s a far greater chance that they will follow up with a call.
Remember, your blog is not the place to sell services directly or to simply post news and announcements. It is about offering the kinds of discussion that will bring clients to you. What questions and concerns do they have? Your blog is where you demonstrate your expertise, educate potential clients, and maximize your search engine optimization (SEO).
Keeping blog posts up-to-date with accessible information is a key component in building your credibility. A regularly updated blog with relevant, trusted content will drive traffic — and potential clients — to your firm’s website.
2. Dig deeper with in-depth white papers
Sometimes legal topics need more than 600 words to be accurately and helpfully covered. For these heavier-duty issues, you want to set aside the blog and look at creating a white paper. White papers are lengthier documents — up to 1,500 words — that dive deeply into a topic, such as Totten trusts. They explore complex issues and incorporate insightful data and statistics, giving your readers a bit more to chew on than a blog post and showing the true depth of your knowledge in that particular arena.
To make the most of your white papers, don’t just give them away. Instead, offer them free in exchange for a potential client’s email address. Then, with the email address in hand and the knowledge that this person is interested enough to want detailed information on a given topic, you can develop personalized follow-ups.
3. Get social
The legal profession is innately social: Relationships with clients are the foundation of a firm’s integrity and reputation. These relationships frequently start when a potential client turns to firms that exhibit strong social proof and credibility in the social networks they use. One such network is LinkedIn, a site that a growing majority of lawyers use for professional purposes. LinkedIn’s news aggregator Pulse, where members self-publish to industry-specific audiences, provides a unique opportunity to build thought leadership. You can also engage in social media listening, using social networks to learn more about clients’ priorities and concerns.
The growing role of social in the legal profession recently prompted the New York State Bar Association to issue formal opinions on best social media practices, confirming that social media participation has become an integral part of doing business.
Social media dovetails with the other content types. Facebook and Twitter are perfect platforms to promote your blog posts and white papers, because they enable you to expand your audience exponentially through the power of sharing. Many firms maintain several blogs where they publish original, informative content that reflect their specialties, Keeping blog posts up-to-date with accessible information is key to building your credibility. A regularly updated blog with relevant, trusted content will drive traffic — and potential clients — to your firm’s website. But social media is the perfect way to distribute these posts, enabling you to expand your audience exponentially, through the power of sharing.
Of course, it takes time and talent to produce worthwhile blog posts, write long-form articles, and craft engaging, effective social media posts. The constellation of writing and editing tasks that are required to build a coherent online presence can be overwhelming, and few attorneys or legal teams have the time to build quality online content that must be updated with fresh content weekly or daily.
The solution is to outsource your writing needs to a content marketing firm. Companies like Prose Media have the talent and expertise to get you started. We create high-quality white papers, blogs, and social media updates that will educate and engage current and potential clients, encouraging them to see you and your firm as a source of trusted information and a solution provider for their legal needs. To learn more, sign up today for free, no-obligation access to our platform.